Differing views within the Democratic Party

    It is generally acknowledged that for a politcal party to achieve success, it must be an accomadating entity that is willing to encompass views that differ somewhat from the "Party" line. This maxim has been exemplified by both the Democrastic and Republican parties at various times since the end of the civil war. At one point, New England was a vertable stronghold of the so called Yankee Republicanism, better known as the moderate to liberal wing of the Republican party. At the same time, the Deep South was once reliably Democratic, albeit conservative, which helped establish the Democratic party at the political center. However, recent years have seen both of the major parties moving back into a period of extreme polarity, resulting in the near decimation of the politcal center. As seen in the Lieberman/Lamont senatorial primary, many of the politcal left were unwilling to accept a candidate who shared the same politcal views except on foreign policy. Conversely, in the Laffey/Chaffey primary, the intolerance many conservatives felt for Chafee's percieved liberal nature on social issues nearly led to his defeat in the primary and played a large part in his GE downfall.
     This elimination of political centrists has its roots in the presidency of Bill Clinton but its consequences have been magnified through the Democratic presidential primary. Several times, I have expressed views that ran contrary to what the left wing of my party held to be non-negotiable; I was promptly excoriated by numerous users and told to "go to Redstate, no quarter, etc". To blatantly attack others for having some differing views from the party line is downright foolish, as evidenced by the inumerable number of Clinton supporters that fled Daily Kos as a result of the veritable beating they were recieving. It is only through acceptance of deviations from the party line that the Democratic Party can truly widen its influence.
       I have assembled a list of key issues that often produce stark divisions in primary elections and in general elections. They are follwed by my own personal views on each topic, but I would prefer not to be excoriated for any of them.

  Economics: I am a die-hard supporter of the minimum wage increase and generally support the Democratic position in this case.

  Foreign Policy: Sorry but I do not buy the "Change we can believe in" version. I am not a foreign policy hawk yet I was disgusted by Obama's declaration in a debate that he would meet with the leaders of  Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, etc in the first year of his presidency (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1dSPrb5w _k). I was a vehement supporter of Hillary's advocation of diplomatic envoys.

  Gay marriage: It should not be illegal on the federal level and should be left up to the states. I do support civil unions.

   Abortion: I am unabashedly pro-choice, which is a major strike against a McCain presidency in my book.

  Affirmative Action: I staunchly oppose affirmative action. Giving an unfair advantage to individuals based on their race is actually reverse discrimination, and I support the decision of Michigan voters in 2006 to restrict it.

 Separation of Church and State: I am with Teddy Roosevelt on this one, the man who stripped our currency of the words "In god we trust." The separation of these two ideals is paramount to the existence of a functional and prosperous society.

  Healthcare: HAving had personal experience with the U.S.' terrible healthcare system, I strongly supported Hillary's universal healthcare plan. Obama's, while better than that of Bush, was simply not far reaching enough in my view.

So there you have it. Please post your own views on these topics and if they helped lead you to support a particular candidate in the Democratic primary.

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Racial selectivity in Deep South congressional races

         One of the more interesting features of the Democratic primary election that has persisted into the general election campaign is, predictably, the thorny issue of racism. Those who dared to broach the subject, most prominently former Rep. Geraldine Ferarro and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, were "tossed under the bus," as many pundits put it. I myself have been bashed on this sight for any number of offenses, from being a Republican troll to "uprating race-baiting comments." Regardless, the race question will undoubtedly have a trmendous influence on the outcome of this year's presidential election and needs to be considered. PLEASE do not accuse me of being a concern troll; I am merely trying to pose a very realistic concern regarding the election. This diary ponders the race question regarding congressional races and analyzes the possible effect on the presidential race.
           In recent weeks, while Democratic efforts in the presidential race, house races, and senate races appear to be paying off, a few congressional races in the Deep South stand out for the racial tensions by which they are characterized. The most prominent is the LA-06 race, in which Don Cazayoux must not only face a Republican state senator but also a DEMOCRAT in the form of state Rep. Michael Jackson. Jackson, who lost a primary runoff by a large margin to Cazayoux, cannot seem to get over his loss and could pull much of the African American support that pushed Cazayoux over Woody Jenkins. (http://www.dailykingfish.com/showDiary.d o;jsessionid=625F918E9256AD95B57562C5010 3C53D?diaryId=791) Jackson's claim is that Democratic leaders have unfairly promoted the candidacies of whites over blacks. While in this case the DCCC's support of Cazayoux is irrelavent because of Jackson's obvious ineptitude, the fact remains that Semocratic Leaders in the past have promoted the candidacies of white candidates because they knew that they would have a higher chance of winning. Louisiana is somewhat unique case, as the state's incompetent and indicted African American congressmen insists that the campaign against him is solely because of his race. Despite this, many white Democrats in Louisiana are not comfortable with the idea of an African American representative and as such the issuse of racial tensions is considered when vetting potential candidates. I am not claiming that African American Candidates are not ideal for winning congressional races in the deep south, however. Don Cravins is running a courageous campaign against Rep. Boustany in LA-07 and I hope that he wins in Novemeber. It is intersting to ponder, however, whether Democratic leaders supporting a more competent white candidate over an incompetent black candidate is indicative of racism (as Michael Jackson so kindly told reporters).  Another prime example of this is the Democratic Primary for the Georgia senate race.
      In this race, Jim Martin faces Vernon Jones, a corrupt CEO of Dekalb County who has been accused of rape in the past and fairs terribly in the latest Rasmussen Reports Poll (http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_c ontent/politics/election_20082/2008_sena te_elections/georgia/election_2008_georg ia_senate). While Jones claims that his race is reason to put him on the ballot (implying that Obama will draw enough black votes to give him the edge), this poll shows incontrovertible evidence to the contrary. Now Jim Martin is not a stellar candidate but is undoubtedly better than Vernon Jones, despite Jones' overwhelming support from African Americans in the primary. To win an election statewide as a Democrat(or nationwide for that matter), it is crucial to win white votes and Vernon Jones has proved that he is incapable of doing just that.
       This brings me to the impact these subtle racial tensions may influence the general election between McCain and Obama. While it is not likely to have a noticeable impact in Kerry states (other than perhaps working class Pennsylvania), its effect will be amplified throughout the south. Contrary to popular belief, black turnout is quite large in the South and the idea that Obama could increase black turnout to a point that would win him those electoral votes (i.e. Mississippi) is laughable in its impracticality. Many of Hillary CLinton's working class supporters in states like Ohio and West Virginia may very well defect to John McCain, not necessarily because of racism but due to Obama's associations to the Rev. Wright among others (which do not exactly foster a sense of trust in Obama's judgement). Regardless, it is crucial that one be cogniscent of the challenges that race may pose in November. I say this not as a concern troll, as many of you have so succinctly put it, but as a citizen who is concerned with volatile issue of racism.

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Political expediency and Barack Obama

      The past few weeks have born witness to much turmoil in the race for the White House. After Senator Barack claimed the presidential nomination through his adroit unveiling of superdelegates in his corner, many on Capital Hill and elsewhere were jubilant. In their eyes, a new era of politics had begun, ushered in by the success of Barack Obama's historical candidacy. The span of a month, however, was enough to shatter these feeble illusions of a post-triangulating campaign. During his campaign against Senator Clinton in the primaries, Senator Obama used the Iraq war vote as a major wedge issue, portraying Senator CLinton as a politician of the past, a veritable master of triangulation. (http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalradar/ 2007/05/obama_slams_cli.html) The truth of the matter is, Senator CLinton's vote to give President Bush the authority to engage Iraq would not have made a difference either way. A large majority of the senate, including many Democrats, voted to give authority to President Bush. Senator Clinton voted for the war due in part as a desire to be politically expedient. At time, as many of you may recall, there was no great anti-war movement back then (quite the contrary, in fact). It is interesting to note, however, that Senator Clinton's vote for the Iraq war may have in fact somewhat negated the national security argument in a potential GE with John McCain.
     Despite this, Senator Obama did the politically correct thing by voting for FISA. His vote for the capitulation was merely a means by which to negate the argument that he is somehow weak on national security. While I do not agree with the Democratic Congress' capitulation to President Bush, I do think that Obama's yea vote was necessary. However, what is unacceptable  is for the candidate who claims to be the one who transcends politics as usual to bash a fellow Democrat for political expediency in the primary and then turn on his supporters once he needs them no more. This is simply double speak and circumlocution by a gifted politician, no more, no less. To claim otherwise is to deny reality. Now I am no republican troll, having been an active supporter of Hillary clinton in the primaries. To vote for John McCain would be voting for four years of "Czechoslovakia" references and incompetence. However, Barack Obama must eventually learn to run as what he is first and foremost: just another politician.

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Primary challenges and the presidential race

       The NY Times has a most illuminating piece this morning about how many of Senator Clinton's African American supporters are facing primary challenges from angry supporters of Senator Barack Obama. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/01/us/pol itics/01dems.html?_r=1&ref=politics& amp;oref=slogin)
        This is of great interest to me, for in spite of the unity that Obama and Clinton ask from their supporters, many of Senator Obama's following are insisting on funding primary challenges based solely on the incumbent's support for a specific presidential candidate. This includes several members of New York's congressional delegation who backed Clinton and whose African American constituents refuse to get over that fact and actually base their support on their congressman's competence. Even some congressmen who did support Obama, like Steve Cohen of Tenn. and Rep Barrow of Ga., are facing African American primary challenges, either because of the incumbent's race (Cohen) or because of "not supporting Obama quiickly enough."
     This hateful "purge" of the congressional black caucus is one the most distressing events I have hadto witness this campaign season, second only to Kos of Daily Kos saying that Democrats who do not agree with the netroots should be primaried (essentially saying that there is no room for dissent). Clinton supporters could easily by the same token justify campaigns against Obama supporters in New Mexico, South Dakota, Kentucky, West Virginia, etc. However, they (me included) are not the ones choosing to vent their anger on their independent minded congressional representative. It is up to Obama to denounce these challenges and show a true grasp of the unity he so espouses.

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William Jefferson MUST leave Congress!!!!!

     Though many on both Mydd and Daily kos are strong advocates of leftist primary challenges to more centrist congressmen (as illustrated by the Fallon/Boswell challenge in Iowa), I personally oppose challenging centrist congressmen in swing districts because it could potentially imperil the democratic majority in the House. However, as with all rules there exists an exception, this one in the form of Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson.
       Having been indicted on numerous charges of corruption, Congressman Jefferson has been stripped of his committee assignments in the House, has had numerous members of his family charged on various counts, and can no longer effectively represent the people of his congressional district. (See http://www.dailykingfish.com/showDiary.d o;jsessionid=E6298C977E4A404458FB4DDB4C1 AA242?diaryId=754) Now, the Jefferson political machine is very strong, as illustrated by his 2006 reelection over Karen Carter, so it will take a concerted effort to defeat him in Louisiana's new primary system. At the present time, Jefferson is merely a distraction from the Democrat's purpose in congress and provides fodder for Republican attacks linking him with Obama. ANYBODY is better than congressman Jefferson, a sentiment felt by most except for his many African American followers in his district. Please, can't we agree that Jeffeson has got to go?

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Obama's delegate victory; Lack of planning doomed Clinton

      Having staked his claim to the Democratic nomination, Senator Obama is now transitioning to the general election phase of the campaign while his surrogates continue to pressure the superdelegates to make up their minds by the end of the week. Even though Senator Clinton has not yet conceeded the race for the nomination, Senator Obama is confident enough of his victory that he is already talking of "unity" and "party loyalty". However, his status for the past several weeks as the presumptive nominee apparently was not enough for him to win in West Virginia, Kentucky, Puerto Rico, or South Dakota. Furthermore, he has seemingly overlooked the fact that many of Senator Clinton's supporters harbor hard feelings, to say the least, of his brusque dismissal of Clinton ever since his large February winning streak. ("I would have dropped out if I were her") Comments like "You are likeable enough" and insuations of racism are never sound methodologies to use in reuniting a fractured party base. Many here and at DKOS claim that it is only a matter of time before the "chickens come home to roost," to put it in the language of Reverand Wright. While I think this is highly improbable at the present time, I do find an analysis of Obama's primary victory and large lead in delegates to be quite illuminating. I have separated Senator Obama's victories into five distinct categories, with an interpretation of their importance to his win. While it is clear that Senator Obama was much more prepared for a post Feb. 5th contest, it remains to be seen whether his coalition will be enough to win the general election come November. Please comment.

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Vulnerable superdelegates: Strategy?

After hearing of Rep. Clyburn's expected endorsement of
Obama, I was looking at The Hill's list of uncommitted congressional superdelegates, many of whom are vulnerable in their bids for reelection. These include Mary Landrieu, Nancy Boyda, Nick Lampson, Tim Mahoney, (possibly) Lincoln Davis, etc. My question is who will these members of congress endorse? I would guess that most members of the democratic caucus in the south will endorse Senator Clinton, as will those in Florida. However, uncommittted supers like Jon Tester, Herb Kohl (NOT Russ Feingold), Frank Lautenberg, etc. are harder to predict.
      I'm interested in hearing anybody else's predictions on who these uncommitted congressional supers will ultimately endorse.
     

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Final Three Primaries: an Overview

On the heels of the mason dixon poll showing Obama up 17 points in Montana, one might not consider that she has any chance in the upcoming primaries. However, since the campaign of the ESTEEMED senator from Illinois is turing to GE mode a bit prematurely, Senator Clinton may have an opening in the next couple primaries. A few thoughts:
           Puerto Rico: On paper this is a Clinton rout but Obama's considerable cash advantage may allow him to somewhat negate a possible Clinton landslide in the delegate count but not enough to allay a victory in the popular vote, the metric which her campaign is now focused on.

            Montana: Obama will win this independent minded state fairly easily but not by a large enough margin to merit a significant delegate split. This is one state, though, where the Clinton name may still be strong enough (in certain areas) to swing a considerable number of votes, though not on the scale of Arkansas or West Virginia.

            South Dakota: This is the one state that Clinton could potentially pull a come from behind victory in. Though this is one of the few primaries that Bill Clinton lost in 92
(to Bob Kerrey no less), the large number of undecideds that has manifested itself in the few polls taken in this state suggests that Clinton has the potential to score a popular vote victory, albeit a narrow one in this state. If she could pull this off, it would need to be considered a remarkable feat, considering that Daschle, JOhnson, and Herseth-Sandlin are backing Obama.

that is just my two cents worth but please share your opinions and comments regarding this analysis below. BTW, if you feel that I am an idiot, f****r, retard, or troll, there is no need to post your sentiments in the comments section because that would violate the standards of this blog. Thanks.

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Kentucky Primary Results

     Much of the focus of tonight has been on Senator Obama, who is to be congratulated for his winning a majority of the pledged delegates (see CNN for confirmation). However, in this eagerness to certify Senator Obama as the Democratic nominee the Kentucky primary was deemed to be of little imporatance in the nominating process. While the logic behind this is reasonable(that the state does not have enough delegates for Clinton to catch Obama)the fact remains that Obama's inability to attract a credible retinue in the state mirrors his problem among blue collar whites in West Virginia. While this group has not been one of the Democrats' more reliable constituencies, their support is critical in the general election. The fact that Obama did not deign to campaign here shows that he is all too aware of the problems he faces among this demographic. However, I do not think that is fair to attribute Clinton's convincing wins in WV and Kentucky to racism, as many on this site (not mentioning any specifics for fear of additional undeserved troll ratings) have recently done. It is undeniable that to a small segment of the population in these states, race played a major factor in their votes but the overwhelming majority said that race ad no impact on their decision. This is somewhat exemplary of the double standard that has been utilized in many instances, such as the North Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, etc primaries, in which not a word is breathed about Obama's heavy reliance on the African American vote in his victories. For confirmation of my statements, feel free to check out Cnn's exit polls or the NY TImes politics page. Again, I know that many on this site are eager for this marathon of a primary race to end but there are others, including myself, who would like to see the contest carried on at least until the end of the primaries so as to give every state a voice. I know many of you disagree with this reasoning, but the fact remains that Senator Obama's problems with white blue collar workers, as evidenced in the WV and Kentucky primaries, are quite serious and merit mention in arguments concerning his electability on the general election.

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Thoughts on West Virginia primary and aftermath

     It has become increasingly clear that both the Obama campaign and the media are of the opinion that the Democratic race is over and that Hillary Clinton should simply drop her presidential bid for the sake of "party unity." Apparently fooled that an Obama victory in a state whose demographics heavily favored him (North Carolina with its large African American population) somehow coronated him the Democratic nominee, the Obama campaign has deftly manipulated the announcement of numerous endorsements (superdelegates, John Edwards, etc.) to give himself an "aura of inevitability" and force Clinton to withdraw from the race. Now that he (is of the opinion that he) does not need to win greater numbers of pledged delegates, his whole "platform" of every state counts (except of course for Florida and Michigan)has suddenly disappeared, with Obama entirely disregarding several of the remaining contests for the simple reason that they favor Clinton. By not campaigning in West Virginia, knowing full well that it would be almost impossible to win more than 30 % of the vote, he sufficiently lowered expectations and managed to convince the media the next day to converge on John Edward's endorsement. This quick fix, however, was not enough to quite conceal Senator Obama's glaring weakness among working class white democrats, a fact which will likely be further accentuated in Tuesday's Kentucky primary. I know that many of you credit Clinton's win in this state entirely to lingering racism, a somewhat plausible suggestion given that a former KKK member represents the state in the senate. However, does that give me free license to insult the people of the numerous states, such as Maryland, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolin, North Carolina, etc., that Senator Obama won by relying almost entirely on the African American vote? I think not, so please extend the same courtesy to the voters in states that CLinton won, like West Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. A forty-one point blowout after the "nominee" has been annointed simply cannot be explained away so easily and polls show (see surveyusa) that Clinton would win (or almost win)this state while Obama would be crushed, a similar scenario to other states like Arkansas,Florida, Kentucky, etc. I am sure that come Tuesday Hillary Clinton's  greater than thirty point margin of victory in Kentucky will be once again viewed as the "same old racial politics" by many including the media. However, Obama, the so called uniter, is only further dividing the country by ignoring (and by many accounts insulting) a crucial voting bloc in the general election. From my last diary, you may have known that I live in Florida. Here, many people perceive Obama to be an "empty suit," saying that he has not elaborated on any finite foreign policy plans (though of course McCain's plans are simply to remain mired in Iraq) and has failed to fully expiate the association with Reverend Wright. These people, many of them hard working Democrats, are not racist; rather, they feel that Obama's lofty rhetoric and opposition to the full seating of the Florida delegates merit the loss of their support in the G.E.
        Senator Obama loves to claim that he has put together a winning coalition for the G.E. that is comprised of wealthy, educated "latte liberals" and of course his inordinate African American retinue. This starts to become reminiscent of George McGovern's crushing defeat, a low point in the history of the Democratic party. The point, however, strikes home; Senator Obama will not be able to win in November without the support of Clinton's base and from his campaign's condescending drivel toward the Clintons, it is clear that he has no desire to earn their support. In an Obama McCain matchup, I think that Obama would lose the popular vote by a relatively narrow margin but lose the electoral vote by a significant number. (see 1992 election) It is for this reason that I hope Hillary CLinton takes her campaign to the convention so that the elaborate and sophisticated plans that she has proposed can take effect. In short, I trust Hillary, not Barack, to get the job done right. Call me a Republican troll, an idiot, a traitor, or any other wonderful names that I have not yet been called by Obama supporters, whose attitude toward dissent is starting to resemble a reemergence of fascism. However, I am first and foremost a Democrat, albeit one who positively abhors the empty rhetoric of Senator Obama, who cannot stand the "100 years in Iraq" and "strict constructionist justices" polices promoted by the likes of John McCain. This was supposed to be the election where we choose the better of two candidates, not the lesser of two evils. I am an avid supporter of my local Democratic party officials and would campaign for them in the November election. However, neither Obama NOR McCain is qualified to assume control of the Oval Office. Call me a divider, user of Rovian tactics, I do not care. I like many other Democrats, feel that we need someone that we can count on in the White house, someone with a proven track record, represents ALL democrats even the "racist" blue collar workers, and who is well versed in foreign policy. Regrettably, this person is not Senator Barack Hussein Obama. It is clearly Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.

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